As mentioned in our previous post, in February we joined a most congenial group of Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) supporters and traveled to Laguna San Ignacio in Baja Mexico to visit the Gray Whales. They arrive at this time of year to give birth and nurse their calves until they’re strong enough for the long journey to the northern feeding grounds. The Whale count in the Lagoon was around 300 when we arrived and – so we were told - roughly 10% of these were “friendly” Whales, meaning they were curious about humans and were likely to approach our small boats to be touched and even kissed. Well the good people of Baja Discoveries, whose tented camp was our temporary home, were spot on with their prediction. To our great delight we had several Whale encounters during the next few days. At times surrounded by numerous breaching and sky hopping whales, we were treated to repeated visits by females who seemed keen on introducing their young ones to us. More than once the calves – which were bigger than our boats - were gently nudged up against the side of our boats, so we could touch and stroke them.
It is difficult to describe the emotions that run through you when you touch - and particularly when you make eye contact with - these enormous, gentle creatures. You wonder: what’s in this for them? We have no food to offer and the novelty of seeing humans up close must have worn off long ago for the returning adult Whales. So perhaps they are truly curious about us, now that we no longer slaughter them by the hundreds as we did not that long ago and the lagoon has become a safe sanctuary. Well be that as it may, we had an absolutely unforgettable time with these giants as well as with our fellow Whale lovers and we highly recommend a trip to the Lagoon to experience this enriching adventure. Had it not been for the long, difficult battle waged by the NRDC and its numerous allies, against the planned building of a massive Mitsubishi salt plant at the Lagoon, this pristine, UNESCO World Heritage Site would have become another despoiled and ruined gem. Having seen what was at stake and what has been preserved, we are now, more than ever, proud supporters of the NRDC. Their slogan “The Earth’s best defense” is by no means an idle boast. Until September, when we’re off to Namibia, we will continue spreading the word concerning the Elephant Ivory and Rhino horn poaching crisis by giving video and photography presentations at schools, fund raisers and the like. It will help us stay hopeful despite the almost daily onslaught of dispiriting news concerning man’s inhumanity to our fellow creatures. JK & JMK